Most of us use Singapore’s roads every day without a second thought, whether it be part of our daily commute to the city or a stroll down to Orchard Road. It goes without saying that we also deal with our fair share of frustration, from traffic jams to dangerous drivers and everything in between. But what many drivers and pedestrians don’t realise is that they themselves may be committing traffic violations on a daily basis without considering the consequences. As a user of Singapore’s roads, you need to be aware of common offences under the Road Traffic Act so you can stay safe and avoid racking up demerit points, thousands of dollars in fines and even a prison sentence.
4 Traffic Offences You’ve Probably Committed
Most of us have heard of jaywalking without realising that it’s considered a crime and ranks alongside littering as one of Singapore’s most common offences. You might think a quick shortcut across the road isn’t a big deal, but did you know that you face fines up to $50, sometimes on the spot? Things only get worse for repeat offenders who can be fined up to $2000 and even jailed for up to 6 months. Maybe it is worth walking the extra few metres to the pedestrian crossing after all.
Just a little bit over? Running late for work? Didn’t see the speed camera? None of these excuses mean anything in the eyes of the law, which outlines clear and strict punishments for drivers caught speeding. Speed limits in Singapore range from 30 to 90 km/h, with school zones restricted to 40 km/h and standard unmarked roads generally limited to 50 km/h.
Here’s a summary of the penalties you face for exceeding the speed limit based on the severity of the offence:
- 1 to 20km/h over: 4 demerit points, fine of $150 ($200 for a heavy vehicle)
- 21 to 30km/h over: 6 demerit points, fine of $200 ($250 for a heavy vehicle)
- 31 to 40km/h over: 8 demerit points, fine of $300 ($400 for a heavy vehicle)
- 41 to 50km/h over: 12 demerit points, prosecution in court
- 51 to 60km/h over: 18 demerit points, prosecution in court
- More than 60km/h over: 24 demerit points, prosecution in court
Major violations and repeat offences could result in your licence being revoked, and incidents involving an injured third party may be considered reckless driving and will often be taken to court. The good news is most traffic violations do not result in a criminal record and demerit points may be waived if followed by 12 months without another offence.
3. Not wearing a seatbelt
Drivers and passengers who are not wearing seatbelts pose a grave danger to themselves and others, which is why it is against the law to travel in a car in Singapore without one. Under the seatbelt rules of the Road Traffic Act, both drivers and passengers are required to wear a seatbelt (or appropriate restraint for those under 1.35m) and it is the responsibility of the former to ensure everyone in the car is doing so. Violating this law can result in a fine of $120 and up to 3 demerit points, with penalties rising to $1000 fines and up to 3 months in jail if the case is prosecuted in court.
4. Using a phone while driving
Whenever a vehicle is in motion and the driver has a mobile device in their hand, they can be fined up to $1000 dollars and a jail term of up to 6 months. Whether you are making calls, sending or reading messages, browsing social media or even simply holding it in your hand, it is a violation of traffic law.
How a criminal defence lawyer can help?
If you are charged with committing a crime on the road, it’s important to have an experienced criminal lawyer who understands traffic offences and violations in Singapore. With legal support, you have the chance to fight your case in court and eliminate or significantly reduce any penalties you may receive.
Need help contesting a traffic violation? Talk to our experienced criminal defence lawyers today to find out how we can support you following an offence.